THE SENATE OF BARBADOS
I - COMPOSITION
II - SYSTEM OF APPOINTMENT
Term : 5 years
Most recent election: 21 May 2003.
Eligibility : in order to be eligible, the person must be at least 21 years old, a citizen of Barbados, and must have resided in the country during the 12 (at least) months prior to the vote
Ineligibility : non-rehabilitated bankruptcy, mental illness, allegiance to a foreign State, capital punishment sentence, prison sentence exceeding six months, or conviction of a dishonourable offence or other offences involving an act of treason or electoral fraud
Incompatibilities : civil servants, members of the Armed Forces or police, judges, public prosecutors, or controller (however, ministers and parliamentary secretaries (State ministers) are chosen from among the members of the Parliament. In the event that a minister is ill or is absent from his territory, the General Governor may designate a temporary minister to replace him, for as long as necessary, from among the members of Parliament).
III - SYSTEM OF SESSIONS
A - ORDINARY SESSION
The General Governor determines the session's opening and closing dates. However, the Parliament cannot be out of session for more than six consecutive months.
B - AUTOMATIC SESSION
The Senate automatically sits at most one month after the parliamentary elections.
C - ADJOURNMENT
The session is adjourned, based on a decision by the session president, if a senator officially notes that a quorum (eight senators plus the president) is not present.
IV - RELATIONS WITH THE OTHER CHAMBER AND THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH
The Parliament is comprised of her Majesty the Queen of England, the Senate and the Chamber of the Assembly.
A - LEGISLATIVE POWER
Limitations of the Senate's legislative power.
1) Power to introduce legislation
Any senator (in conjunction with the deputies and the executive) may introduce legislation.
However, the powers of the Parliament's two chambers are limited in budget and financial matters for any reform that, in the view of the session president, is intended to modify fiscal law, increase public expenditures or reduce public resources, or is related to the public debt.
The bill's author may also file a motion requesting that this bill be discussed..
2) Right of amendment
The Senate of Barbados possesses the right of amendment, but its powers (and those of the Chamber of the Assembly) are limited in budget and financial matters for any amendment that, in the view of the session president, is intended to modify fiscal law, increase public expenditures or reduce public resources, or is related to the public debt.
3) Legislative procedure
Laws must be examined by the two chambers.
Bills are filed before either chamber of the Parliament, with the exception of finance bills, which are first filed before the Chamber of the Assembly.
In the event of a tie vote, the session president may take part in the vote.
a) Ordinary procedure
It may continue despite Senate objections to a bill.
If a bill has been examined and adopted by the Chamber of the Assembly during two successive legislature is (regardless of whether or not department has been dissolved in the meantime), and has been rejected by the Senate on each occasion, this text, after its second reading to the Senate, and unless the chamber of the assembly decides otherwise, is submitted to the General Governor for promulgation.
However, after the Senate has read the bill for the first time, the Chamber of the Assembly may propose amendments to the text, which are examined by the Senate and, if they are adopted, become Senate amendments and are deemed to be approved by the Chamber of the Assembly.
The General Governor promulgates the law on behalf of her Majesty the Queen of England.
b) Specific budget provisions
If the finance bill is adopted by the Chamber of the Assembly, is sent to the Senate within the required period of time and is not adopted without amendment within one month of its filing, it is submitted to the General Governor for promulgation, unless the Chamber of the Assembly decides otherwise.
The President of the Chamber of the Assembly attests to its financial aspect at the time that the text is sent to the Senate.
B - SUPERVISORY POWER
The Cabinet (the Prime Minister and five other ministers) has collective responsibility before the Parliament.
C - DISSOLUTION AND EXTENSION
In accord with the Prime Minister, the General Governor may dissolve Parliament at any time.
Dissolution shall be automatic if the position of Prime Minister is vacant and the General Governor believes that no member could collect a majority of votes.
In accord with the Prime Minister, the General Governor may extend the Parliament's term at any time.
V - MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
A - AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION
The Constitution is amended by a law whose adoption is dependent upon the satisfaction of required specific majority conditions: two-thirds of the members of each of the chambers (based on the articles affected by the amendment).
Bills to amend the Constitution must be adopted by the Parliament's two chambers.
B - TH E PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
At the beginning of the session, after any dissolution of the Parliament, the Senate elects its president, who may not be a minister or a parliamentary secretary (State Minister) and Vice President.
C - STATE OF EMERGENCY
1) The Parliament can approve a resolution, based on a two-thirds majority of the members of each of the two chambers, declaring a state of emergency ("period of public emergency"), if it believes that the democratic institutions of Barbados are threatened with subversion.
This declaration may also be made by the General Governor.
2) The emergency period is automatic in times of war. In this case, the term of the members of Parliament may be extended by up to two years in total.
3) If the emergency period results from a parliamentary resolution, it may be lifted at any time by a vote of either chamber, based on a majority of its members.